Following Marvel’s cancellation of The Punisher panel, the comic giant has taken another hit. After facing criticism for seemingly promoting war profiteering, Marvel has reportedly ended its comic partnership with defence contractor Northrop Grumman.
Marvel release an official statement:
“The activation with Northrop Grumman at New York Comic Con was meant to focus on aerospace technology and exploration in a positive way. However, as the spirit of that intent has not come across, we will not be proceeding with this partnership including this weekend’s event programming. Marvel and Northrop Grumman continue to be committed to elevating, and introducing, STEM to a broad audience.”
Marvel had previously teased a major announcement at its NYCC booth on Saturday, involving a team-up with Northrop Grumman, the world’s fifth-largest defence contractor last year. And while the company doesn’t sell guns, it does deal in cybersecurity systems, bombers, laser weapon systems, aerial drones and other military hardware, selling mostly to the US government and generating over $20 billion each year.
There wasn’t a lot of information available on how extensive the partnership would have been, but it did feature a promotion comic for all ages (which is no longer featured on Marvel’s website) starring the Avengers and the ‘Northrop Grumman Elite Nexus’ or N.G.E.N. The comic featured the tagline “Start Your N.G.E.N.s” and including recruitment advertisements and a contest where readers could be drawn in an upcoming issue.
This partnership was immediately criticised by fans who accused Marvel of trying to propagandise the Military-Industrial Complex to minors. The cited how this partnership contradicted one of their main characters’ journeys, as Iron Man himself, Tony Stark stopped selling weapons to the military after he realised that he was contributing to a global crisis.